One of my favorite parts of my job is visiting our member libraries and I’ve been on the road a lot this summer. I always learn something new and this year it was the Traveling Exhibits from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum (WVM). Three of the libraries I visited, Cambria, Reedsburg, and Arpin, all recently had or were getting the Working Warriors: Military Life Beyond Combat traveling exhibit for their library. What a great opportunity to create connections with your community.
Next time you’re visiting downtown Madison, be sure to visit the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in person. It’s located on the Capitol Square, admission is free, and the exhibits are enlightening. However, you don’t have to visit in person to get the full benefits of the WVM.
Here is a sampling of the unique and fascinating pieces of information I found while exploring the WVM website.
Did you know there’s a functional submarine periscope that protrudes through the roof of the museum? (Note to self: make sure to see this next time I’m downtown.) You’ll find this interesting fact and many more by reading through the Fact Sheets. You can see the periscope being used in this photo* on the WVM Flickr page.
In addition to the physical exhibits in the Museum, there are Online Exhibits and Online Collections. I particularly enjoyed the Beard Bracket Challenge exhibit. It’s a fun way to learn more about some of our Wisconsin Civil War soldiers. Then, prepare to lose at least an hour browsing through the Online Collections Database. I highly recommend using the Random Images and then selecting an image that catches your eye, like Toby the Horse, and learning more. And, repeat...and, repeat...
Speaking of the Civil War, the WVM has databases that cover the Civil War and Spanish-American War. There’s also a World War I database that’s almost complete. These databases contain a huge amount of genealogical material that relate to Wisconsin men and women who served in the military. Are any of your ancestors listed here? In addition to the genealogical materials, there are collections of material and resources on Military History. These are great resources to know about for those students looking for help with school projects.
Oh, and one more thing. I mentioned the Traveling Exhibits earlier. I found Travel Trunks on the Educators tab. These trunks are filled with artifacts, uniforms, lesson plans and activities that can be used in schools or for library programs. I think there are lots of programming opportunities here. The cost is a very reasonable $25 plus shipping (unless you can pick it up from the Museum).
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more Random Images to check out.
*Photo used with permission of Wisconsin Veterans Museum.